By Chuck Bennett
“I had just started my career in communications,” Karen recalls. “I knew I had to meet the ‘great’ Chuck Bennett. You were like the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ Somehow; I got your phone number and address and started sending you press releases.” In the early years, we worked together on a Smirnoff Vodka project that was a national client of Karen’s. From then, it seems we’ve been joined at the hip. One year, I gave her not one, but two birthday parties – one for about 500 of her friends and fans, and the other (sniff-sniff) for about 100 special V.I.P.s. She formerly served as Chief of Communications & External Affairs for Mayor Dave Bing and the City of Detroit. She has gained respect as a trusted and fair radio and television personality and as a columnist. Our chemistry is strong – personally and professionally. We’re often teamed for radio, television and personal appearances.
Pretty simple. Beverly Hills Grill. Karen likes the food here. “The service is good,” she adds. “They’re consistent. And they have one of my favorite dishes on the menu – Fettuccini Alfredo with Shrimp.”
I tease Karen about dressing like a boy. Actually, she’s pretty conservative with a bit of flair, and a penchant for quality. You will usually find her dressed in all black or wearing jeans. What most folks don’t know is that she’s a shopaholic. “The trunk of my car is packed with new things right now,” she admits. Her closets at home are filled with garments with price tags still on them. Her attempts to purge – garage sales, bulk donations — only create more room for her to fill with new items. “Shopping is like recreation for me,” she continues. “I can do it alone. I enjoy the art of the deal. I got a $1200 purse once for $150. I love that. I like that feeling.” She describes her style as “fashionably conservative.” She likes to plan ahead when she shops. “Chuck, I bought a dress in New York recently for your next white party,” she says. “Do you think you might have another white party?” Her favorite designers are Burberry, Armani and Gucci.
Personally and professionally where I am right now, I’m excited about what every day will bring. I’m excited about growth. I’m excited to have the opportunity to get it right or do it better. Looking at how to expand my footprint, how to maximize my influence. Excited about my kids entering into their own. I wake up with a new mindset these days.
What do you mean? In terms of people, things, music? I love my family. I love you. Don’t ask me that. It’s obvious what I love. These days, I manage to find some love in everything – just not in everybody.
Karen had the Cajun pasta dish from the lunch menu with linguine, baby spinach and shrimp. “I get it without the Cajun seasoning.” I had the meat loaf, and quite frankly, it might be the best I’ve ever had — second to Mom’s, of course.
It’s big enough where you don’t feel crowded, but small enough to appreciate the intimacy. The food and service are always good. I come here all the time.
The Words of Wisdom:
If you encounter some opposition or setback; if you’ve lost sight of what you’re trying to do or where you’re trying to go. Two words – keep going.
Photos by Everett Stewart